Coming up is release of my food memoir, Good Seeds: A Menominee Indian Food Memoir, from Wisconsin Historical Society Press, Sept. 2016. ISBN 978-0-87020-771-6 Contact the author: email@example.com Contact the press marketing manager at 608-264-6465 or firstname.lastname@example.org for media, review copies and author appearances. Join me for the Lawrence, Ks., launch of the book with samples and special menu at 715 Restaurant, 3-5:30 pm Sept. 16, Friday. Raven Bookstore will sell books. Details are at Raven Book Events
As an artist, I create book cover illustrations for Mammoth Publications (I’m co-publisher) as well as acrylic paintings and colored-pencil artworks. My artwork is for sale, both originals and fine prints, for very reasonable prices. Photography is another passion shared often on my public Facebook page Thomas Pecore Weso.
The Canadian journal Numero Cinq published a sequence of my paintings with poetry by Denise Low, In the Direction of North. A collectible chapbook of my paintings with related poems Runaway Pony is available–see the Tab on this site for details.
More information about Good Seeds: “In Tom Weso’s youth, a meal for his Menominee family took an entire year to plan. Eating with the seasons, you get wild game, fish, maple, berries, squash, and other delectables. But you get them only once a year. It is this sustaining way of life that Weso narrates for us in Good Seeds. These stories and recipes make us appreciate the past, make us long for woods and waters today, and make us just plain hungry.” —Heid E. Erdrich, author of Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest
“Weso tells his tale of Menominee history that began with his family in a house that had been an Indian service jail. There is necessary information here—diesel fuel gels at 40 below. Pines burst at 20 below. The whole Wisconsin winter he knew begins to thaw in Good Seeds. Weso says his grandmother used to start fire each morning. I want to say, it is Weso who starts fire, but the fire he builds is for the written word. It is language that sparks this work to life.” —Diane Glancy, poet, playwright, and author of Pushing the Bear: After the Trail of Tears
To the Menominee Indian, the “good seeds” of life are the manomin, or wild rice, that also gives the tribe its name. In this unique food memoir, tribal member Thomas Pecore Weso takes readers on a cook’s journey through Wisconsin’s northern woods. With a rare perspective as a Native American anthropologist and artist, Weso mixes a poignant personal story with the seeds of Menominee cooking traditions. He tells stories that connect each food—beaver, trout, blackberry, wild rice, maple sugar, partridge—with colorful individuals who taught him indigenous values. Weso’s grandfather Moon was a medicine man, his morning prayers the foundation for all the day’s meals. His grandmother Jennie “made fire” each morning in a wood-burning stove and oversaw huge breakfasts of wild game, fish, and fruit pies. His uncles taught him to hunt bear, deer, squirrels, raccoons, and even skunks for the daily larder. Along with authentic family recipes, Weso recalls favorite foods served at the Menominee fair and at local diners, and shares stories about reservation life in the mid-twentieth century, when many elders practiced the old ways. According to Weso, “People talk about the good old days, when things were simpler. But the old life was not simple. People had to order their day according to what nature was doing, not human desires. If it was the season to pick cranberries, my grandmother went out to the bogs and picked cranberries. She could not wait for a warm day. She had to get out when the cranberries were ripe. The land had its ceremonies, unfolding through the seasons, and people followed them.”